A friend from Mindanao reacted to my blog post on being poor and rude. “So far, I have yet to archeologically dig the rude manners you pictorially essayed, especially in hospitals,” she protested. Let me share her email to you all.
DEAR DAVE—What coffee shop talks can't expand, blogging can. I read with interest the goings-on in your part of my country. Hermitian is a word that can best describe my present state of existence, already weirdly remote from the topics I just read. If I were from Pluto, I'd view your musings as a great pamphlet to explore these islands from an intellectual perspective.
Amusingly, I have met so much of the rude poor you took an issue against, especially on good manners and right conduct. During my hybernation, I actually saw different lines on their faces: crinkly but never short of passages to the creation of smiles. I simply pored into those craggy skins and saw humanity at its best. How simple, untheoretical, their lives are. So far, I have yet to archaelogically dig the rude manners you pictorially essayed, especially in hospitals. Mathew Arnold has the same reservation against these "masses" in his own England. That culture or "the best of what has been thought and said" is not for them. That is why "pop culture" is often disparaged--viewed as a disentanglement of the poor from the dictates of the dominant-intellectual-noble types.
So, I guess, this issue has so many gaps to fill when viewed in our own setting. I have a mind that is fractured by so many information that I need to sew in with the past. In short, we need to sit down so I can amply explain my dissent to that particular piece. Keep on writing!—IRIS
DEAR IRIS—The context here is that I’m not against the poor. I’m poor myself. I belong to them, with them. I commute each day through jeepneys and buses. I eat their kind of food. I dream their kind of dreams. I was just reacting to the experience related to me by a friend whose sister works in a provincial hospital. The difference is that I don't romanticize the poor or being poor. I see them in their graciousness as well as in their rudeness. If you have noticed I also stressed that there are more nice people among the poor than there rude ones. My reflections on the matter could never be interpreted to mean I’m against them or pretending I’m not one of them. I am.